Doc Bonn asks, are you a family caregiver? There is help for you.

Family caregivers are special people who step in to help friends, relatives, neighbors or life partners with health problems or disabilities.  This help ranges from grocery shopping, help with personal grooming, and meal preparation to providing financial support and basic assistance with medical needs.

 

Important facts:

  • About 25 percent of American families (nearly 66 million Americans) serve as unpaid caregivers to adult family members, special needs children, life partners and others in need. Most provide care to a family member, typically a parent who is over the age of 50.
  • Fourteen percent of care recipients are between ages 18 and 49.
  • If caregivers were paid on the open market for their services, society would have to spend about $375 billion.
  • More than half of caregivers are women and nearly four in ten are men.
  • Caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week on caregiving—additional time is needed when the care recipient has more than one disability.
  • Caring for a person with disabilities can be physically demanding. This is especially true for older caregivers.
  • One-third of all caregivers describe their own health as fair to poor. Caregivers may have depression and are more likely to become physically ill.
  • Caregivers often worry that they will not live longer than the person they care for.
  • In 1900, average Americans could expect to live just 47 years. Today, life expectancy is 75 years, but chronic illness is common in the later years. As a result, older people now require about two years of care prior to death.

Sometimes, caregiving can seem overwhelming and even burdensome.  If you are a caregiver and you feel that way, please recognize it is a natural reaction and you are certainly not alone.  Caregiving, while very rewarding, is also hard work.  You must take care of yourself so that you do not become run down and sick.  There is help for the caregiver.  Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness.  Reach out.

For more information and helpful resources visit: http://www.emblemhealth.com/default.aspx?Page=702

Visit Care for the Family Caregiver on Face book: http://www.facebook.com/careforthefamilycaregiver?ref=ts

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq”and is currently writing a book about the public’s fascination with serial killers. 

Sources:
National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Caregiving in the U.S. Funded by MetLife Foundation. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. RAND White Paper,. Living Well at the End of Life.

 

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Posted on September 12, 2012, in Social Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. THANK YOU, Scott! As the caregiver/spouse of a spouse who is blind and almost deaf, but otherwise very physically fit and healthy (he has a genetic disease called Usher’s Syndrome), I am ‘attached at the hip’ to my partner almost 24/7. He is a wonderful mate, so I’m blessed and happy, but sometimes, YES, I am overwhelmed and wish I could spend some ‘me’ time. (Then I remember: ‘Hey girl, you never had kids. You don’t know!!!!” Anyway, this issue is an important one to me, and I look forward to checking out your resources and links.

  2. Thank you for sharing Sharrhan, bless you, and may you be well.

  3. This information is vital…particularly for special people we know….Why is it that the most important job in the world (i.e. caring for terminally ill people) goes unpaid? I do not understand why in this day and age, with the vastly wasteful government programs, “someone” has not sought to spearhead this to be paid.Should it be part of Obamacare or another option? Absolutely! I would give my tax dollars for it! DRG

  4. Thank you so much, Donna, I am with you!

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